Friday, October 06, 2017

Comic Cuts - 6 October 2017

I think we can classify last week's Sale Trail as a disaster. Not the tiniest percentage of a Hurricane Irma- or Maria-sized disaster, but a grade A failure nonetheless. We were selling for six hours and in that time I managed to raise £7.50. Less the fiver it cost me to get us included on the Sale Trail map. So, a profit of £2.50 towards paying off the cost of my lovely folding table. Only another £15 to go before it has paid for itself!

Even my most pessimistic profit estimates saw us at least pay off the table! The last time we did the Sale Trail we made £53, of which £35 was my profit after costs, so my target of £22.50 should have been easy to hit.

So what went wrong? A lot of fingers are pointing at the organisation. The maps and promotional material (1 x A4 poster) turned up at 4 o'clock on Friday, which didn't give anyone much of a chance, if any if you were out at work, to promote the event. Apart from notices on three noticeboards around town, I don't think there was any promotion... and every seller I spoke to told me the same thing: every customer was surprised to find people with tables out on their drives. Not one of them knew the Sale Trail was on.

For us, it was also the case that we were the only people in our road who set out a stall. Of the 25 sellers, the largest cluster was down towards the quay, where there might have been some passing trade from people shopping, dog-walkers along the quay, people going to or coming from one or other of the three pubs or various restaurants/tea-rooms.

I had thought we would catch anyone going to or coming from the Co-op but there was barely more than three dozen people walking up or down the road. Maybe everyone drives into Colchester to do their shopping on a Saturday?

Mel took £4.50 and my sister Julie drove down from Sudbury and ended the day 52 pence richer... less her petrol, which probably cost more than that (she found the 2p in the road!), but despite our taking next to nothing, we still managed to have a good laugh. Julie had the dogs down, which always adds to the fun. One of them was celebrating its second birthday, so there were extra fusses to be made.

Rather than wait until 4pm, we decided to close up shop at 3 and had everything stacked away by 3.30pm, so we had a chance to a) walk the dogs, and b) chat to some of the other sellers. I bought a couple of books for 50p, so that blew a fifth of my profits immediately.

Will we do it again? Well, definitely not from our driveway because we've proved that there just aren't the customers. If we could get tables outside the local hall again (as we had the last time we did the Sale Trail) I might consider it. Mind you, that's unlikely to happen as I'm seriously considering just seeing what the local second-hand bookshop will offer me. I need the space!

With that disappointment behind us, I've been cracking on with Fifty Forgotten Authors. I'm still averaging 1,000 words a day, which is good. I've decided to end the first batch of fifteen or so with two that require lots of research, which I'm enjoying. On the latest essay, just when I thought I'd found out all I could about a particular author, something else popped up. On Tuesday I discovered a previously unknown pen-name and then discovered a second on Wednesday by pure fluke while I was trying to establish when one of the author's books was serialised.

You just never know what's around the corner.

Because this and the previous essay overlap a little, I have the previous one on hold – hence no totaliser again, as it isn't quite finished. But when I get the two finished, the totaliser word count is going to take quite a jump, as I've written about 15,000 words since the last time I totted up the total.

Today's random scans aren't very random. I sold a spare Nell Dunn book and it got me thinking about the other titles I had by her. After a bit of digging, here's what I found on the shelves...

Up the Junction
Pan Books G712, 1966, 122pp, 2/6.
---- [2nd imp.] 1966; [3rd imp.] 1966; [4th imp.] 1966; [5th imp.] 1966; [6th imp.] 1966; [7th imp.] 1966; [8th imp.] 1968; [9th imp.] 1968; [10th imp.] 1968; [11th imp.] 1968; [12th imp.] 1969;
Pan Books 0330-10743-7 [13th imp.] 1973, 122pp, 25p.

Poor Cow
Pan Books X714, 1968, 126pp, 3/6. Cover still. Movie tie-in.
Pan Books 0330-10714-3, c.1973, 25p.

"Talking to Women" 
Pan Books X563, 1965, 188pp, 3/6.

Pan Books 0330-23488-9, 1973, 123pp, 25p.

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